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Spurs fans: Just when you thought you were rid of Richard Jefferson…

Jul 1, 2010, 9:28 PM EDT

NBA_jefferson1_250.jpgYesterday, everybody went, “what, really?” when Richard Jefferson opted out of his $15.2 million final year with the San Antonio Spurs.

But he is already negotiating to come back to San Antonio next season, according to the San Antonio Express-News. And it really makes sense, if you think about it.

Several NBA sources assume Jefferson and the Spurs had at least the framework of a new deal in place before his decision to opt out.

“It’s the only reason for him to opt-out,” one rival Western Conference executive said.

One unconfirmed report circulating the league Thursday had Jefferson discussing a three-year, $30 million with the Spurs. Another placed the terms at a more robust five years for $45 million, with the final season likely only partially guaranteed.

Three years at $30 million seems steep, but maybe the Spurs nibble at that. If it is $45 million over five, they are nuts. And the Spurs are not nuts.

But the point is that the Spurs would still need to find a quality replacement for Jefferson on the roster and would struggle to do so with the mid-level exception, which is the most they can offer a free agent. So maybe they did work out a framework already, and while Jefferson will listen if other people call he is close to having a deal again with the Spurs.

And that scream you just heard was Spurs fans reading the last two paragraphs.

  1. metalandganja - Jul 1, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    it’s nice to not have to pay him $15+ mil, but he’s better than any other SF candidates available out there right now. with any luck, the MLE will mostly, if not all, go to splitter. *crosses fingers*

  2. HB - Jul 1, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    spurs probably realized they need to make a move THIS YEAR with their aging core
    saving 5 mill off the salary allows them to have more to spend this year so they can make a move in FA
    a great franchise like the spurs doesn’t make stupid moves like this
    30 mill over 3 years vs 15 million in 1 year means spending 15 million more over the next 3 years to have your best shot at a championship…chump change

  3. WacoCo - Jul 1, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    This writer is uninformed. The Spurs only have the MLE and the LLE to work with. Tiago Splitter will be getting the full MLE, which leaves less than 2.5 mil to replace Jefferson. RJ might have had a bad year, but he was effective towards the end of the season once he stopped shooting 3′s, and there is no player the Spurs would be able to get of RJ’s caliber with the LLE.
    Spurs fans, be glad RJ is returning. He’s a former Olympian with a 17ppg career average. RC Buford is not a moron. He’s not giving RJ 10 mil a year, but he’s probably offered Jefferson a re-worked 4 or 5 year extension that gives Peter Holt some financial ease and RJ some long-term security.

  4. Titletown99030507 - Jul 2, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    Maybe he loses 10 lbs and becomes more athletic and acclimated to the Spurs system and comes out gunning ready to prove Spurs fans wrong.
    I guess we should give him the opportunity to prove himself this coming season with a slightly improved roster. It could help.
    He shouldn’t put all the pressure on himself that’s why you 4 other players on the court taking care of their business. If you stay RJ good luck this season. GO Spurs GO.

  5. MissP - Jul 2, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    RJ is an excellent SF. We seem to forget that most players struggle their first season under the Spurs system. Hopefully RJ will return and show everyone that he is the caliber player that will help the Spurs win number five! I am rooting for you RJ and I know that if we have a starting five of TonyP, TimmyD, Splitter, Manu and you, as well as, a tight bench of DBlair, GHill, Anderson, Hairston, Gee, etc we will definitely make it to the finals.

  6. TJ - Jul 2, 2010 at 9:52 PM

    Sign Splitter and beg Bruce Bowen to come back for one more year

  7. sasand - Jul 5, 2010 at 5:28 PM

    San Antonio accepted RJ with an open heart & arms and lots of anticipation, perhaps too much. It was wrong to ask this young man to play at super star level when he hadn’t played with the Spurs until he got here. He wasn’t familiar with their style of play or with the San Antonio fans. We are used to our Spurs playing at super star level every game, every year but these guys have played together for awhile. I disagree that our Spurs are aging. They have won four championships so they haven’t had the “follow through spirit” that it takes to win a championship! This past year it seemed as though Tim Duncan had it at the beginning but lost it in the finals. Manu Ginobli started slow while recovering from his injuries then started on full speed towards mid season and during finals. The Spurs main players were “not on the same page (about winning)” this past season. They all must really want it if they are going to make it work this coming season. Give your all this coming season Spurs & GO SPURS GO!

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